Happy Wednesday, Everyone!
First things first! I have an important announcement!
(wait for it…)
National Potato Chip Day!!!
This means it’s time for the age-old debate over which is better: ruffled or smooth? (I hope you all know the correct answer to that (ruffled), but feel free to attempt to convince me otherwise 🙂 You will need to use solid arguments backed by at least 3 primary sources 🙂 )
It is also time to share your favorite potato chip flavor! For me it’s a three-way tie between sour cream and onion, barbecue, and plain old regular salty chips.
But let’s be honest. I haven’t met too many potato chips I don’t like. 🙂 (Except salt and vinegar which I think should be banned, not just from the earth but from the entire solar system, but that’s just me 🙂 ) What flavor of chip rocks your world?
And speaking of chips rocking the world, there are picture books about bagels, and picture books about cupcakes, and picture books about sandwiches… but I can’t think of a picture book about a potato chip. I think the time has come! You all have your writing prompt for the day… write a picture book where the MC is a potato chip 🙂
Now then! From chips to chocolate!
Since it’s nearly St. Patrick’s Day, we obviously need something festively green, so how about some no-bake Mint Oreo Cheesecake for our Something Chocolate today?!
No Bake Mint Oreo Cheesecake
Doesn’t that look so chocolatey and minty fresh?! Plus it’s green which means it’s a vegetable, and that makes it health food 🙂
Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Nadine who says, “I am an elementary librarian in an urban school district and I love my job! I am on the selection committee for the Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award (PA’s state book award) and a wiener dog owner and lover!”
Find her on the web at
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: Porcupette And Moppet
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: (background information: a young porcupine is called a porcupette and a natural predator of a porcupine is a fisher.)
Pitch: Porcupette knows the importance and joy in reading. When he encounters a sneaky, sly fisher named Moppet, Porcupette outsmarts this predator armed with his quills? No. Porcupette uses his book!
So what do you think? Would You Read It? YES, MAYBE or NO?
If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest. If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Nadine improve her pitch. Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome. (However I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful. I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)
Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks! For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above. There are openings in April, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!
Nadine is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on potato chips and to reading everyone’s one-sentence pitch for a picture book starring a potato chip! Ready, GO! 🙂
Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂
16 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #277 – Porcupette And Moppet (PB)”
Susanna, I am shocked that you didn’t mention chocolate covered potato chips, which are delicious!
Nadine, I like this and would definitely read a story about a smart, young pocupine who doesn’t resort to using his painful quills.
My first thought was that Porcupette was a girl. Maybe it’s the ette on the end. Just something to consider.
Also, I think you could shorten the pitch a bit:
When Porcupette encounters a sneaky, sly fisher named Moppet, he finds a way to outwit him with booksmarts, not quills.
Hope that helps a little.
I love the idea, Nadine. I like the way Laurie put it better. The other way sounds a little preachy to me. So I would read it if it was punchy like Laurie’s.
Drooling at the thought of potato chips. I prefer mine simply salted, with just the right amount of crunch. Yum!
I’d read this, but I agree with the others that the first sentence sounds a bit preachy. I think you could introduce Porcupette as “book-loving” Porcupette & delete that first sentence. If you do so, you could add a bit more about what happens when Moppet & Porcupette meet, rather than jumping straight to the conclusion that Porcupette outsmarts him.
One further question I had with your pitch is why Moppet has a name but all young porcupines are called porcupette. Hope these comments help!
Yes. I like books about books. And I agree with the recommended edits to the pitch for the reasons stated (in several comments), as well.
I think Lauri’s comments summed up most of my thoughts. I thought the MC was female and that Porcupette was her proper name. Since it’s not her name, I wonder if she has one in your book.
I love the idea of her being a book lover and using her smarts to outwit the predator, but your pitch made me think she hits him with a book. That might be made clearer.
Best of luck!
Also, Susanna, today is Pi Day! I’ll be having strawberry rhubarb pie if I can find some.
HI Nadine and Susanna!
I would definitely read this. The title intrigued me right away. I agree that maybe Porcupette might need a name for further characterization purposes. I also wonder if you need to give away so much about the resolution. What if you presented a bit more tension of the conflict and a hint as to the resolution, of course, in a punchy way like Laurie mentioned above.
As far as potato chips go, I’ll have to leave because salt and vinegar are my favorites!! *NO please don’t through that delicious cheese cake at me!* Although, it WOULD be delicious…here, let me get my fork and napkins for the clean up 😀
Aye matey, I be reading yer book if’n you rephrases it like the readers above be suggesting. When I first reads the pitch I be thinking the predator has the quills. It be a better surprise to use the book part at the end. What writer not be liking a book as the weapon? I also agrees that porcupette, as the main character, should have a name. It could be porcupette Pete (or Paulina).
Arr, mayhaps this be blasphemy, but I be liking the sweet potato chips better. And a nice piece of tofu-apple pi (since I became a vegan).
I think I am a maybe. I like the idea, but it feels a little to open ended for me, if that makes any sense.
I agree with many on the idea of the name. “ette” makes me think of a girl. You could drop a t and make it Porcupete? That is a minor thing in your story.
I think my issue with this pitch is that it is bookended (see what I did there!) with emphasis on books and not the character. “Porcupette knows the importance and joy in reading.” How and why? “with his quills? No. Porcupette uses his book!” Again, how and why?
I know there is an extension of disbelief, but how does this porcupine get his books? How does he use the book? Does he hit Moppet? The emphasis is that he uses the book, not the information inside.
I know that the book itself will answer some of these questions, but since you put such an emphasis on books, I think it is important.
This line confuses me: “When he encounters a sneaky, sly fisher named Moppet, Porcupette outsmarts this predator armed with his quills?”
It starts off as a statement, but ends with a question mark without actually asking a question. I actually dislike questions in a query because you should not ask the question you want the reader to ask on their own.
One final thing; the title. I am sure this is a working title, but when you list characters in the title, you usually only use the main character or characters. Moppet sounds to me to be an antagonist, but when you list it in the title it sounds like they should be friends.
I hope you do not think I am tearing this apart, as I only want you to put the best product out there. Not knowing anything of your book, here is a sample of something that might help.
Porcupete is waddling home when he notices someone is following him. He knows that his quills won’t stop sneaky Moppet so his only defense is his library book, “The Kingfisher’s Shadow.” It is a smart offense and not a good defense that will win the day.
First things first, yes on ALL chips even salt & vinegar and chocolate covered! Although your three fav’s are mine as well. Not an Oreo fan though, go figure. I would read it this story though the pitch did confuse me a bit. The name issue, yes but also the use of the question mark in a non-question. I think Lauri Fortino’s advice is spot on. You have a good premise and now you’re on the road to a good pitch! Well done!
Potato chips???? Bring them on!!! I don’t keep any in the house because I love them too much!
Nadine, I would definitely read your story…I love books about books! I agree with the others…it could be tightened. Lauri Fortino has given you an AWESOME pitch fix! Keep going with this story!
Thank you everyone! You all made suggestions that totally make sense. Off to revise!
Hope I’m not too late to the party!! Oh my gosh I did not need to see delicious food or think about chips…. my step dad worked in a chip factory and got boxes and boxes for free…. I’m still not sick of them lol…. a true addict 😂
I think I am a maybe. I love the idea of a protagonist having the physical ability to protect him/herself, but using their brains instead. And any encouragement for children to read voraciously is awesome!!!’ There are a couple of opportunities to tighten your pitch…. I have provided a couple of examples. You mentioned using his book to protect himself, I am being literal but that might sound like using the physical book to protect/defend himself. perhaps swap with the word knowledge or skills/ideas he learnt? Also voicing a comment above about the gender/name of your MC…. it was unclear, I presumed boy? And also adding some emotional elements…. what is Porcupette feeling? I want to be emotionally invested in the MC and find out what kind of conflict this book is addressing (sad, angry, scared etc?). But I love the use of animals…. a great way to present a heartfelt message without it being too saccharine. Also having some biological/scientific knowledge is great too as an opportunity for informal learning. Hopefully I get to see this in a bookstore some day soon! Rachel
Thank you so much Rachel. I love your suggestions.
Best of luck to you Nadine! It’s a super adorable idea… and I love the protagonist winning or succeeding due to his knowledge or love of reading! I guess it’s why we write! We love
Reading too 😊
This is a MAYBE for me. Leading with background information feels like there are already hurdles in the way of the story. Since I found the background information interesting, I continued to read. I’m not sure a busy agent or editor would. I recommend leaving out the definition of a porcupette and just refer to your MC as a young porcupine in the pitch. I recommend just referring to Moppet as a sly weasely predator. You can get into definitions and fun nature facts in your book’s backmatter.
I recommend you make your first sentence more active and concise, such as saying “Porcupette loves to read. You’ll never see him without a book” or something like that. Your second sentence isn’t really written as a question and the word “encounters” doesn’t seem to me to communicate the danger Porcupette is in. (Especially considering what the internet has just told me a fisher can do to a porcupine. It is not pretty!) I’d like to see the danger built up in the pitch and the question to be something like “when it looks like his quills won’t stop Moppet, can Porcupette use his head, and his book, to save himself?”
I look forward to seeing other’s comments and seeing a newly punched up pitch! Good luck!
FSPoesy, I appreciate how you gave me a more active suggestion for the opening. I will be incorporating everyone’s ideas as they are so spot-on!